He studied 182 workers at a call centre who received forearm supports for their desks for a year. They suffered less pain in the neck, shoulders, arm, wrist or hand. The findings were published in the latest issue of the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The forearm support consists of a padded board that attaches to the front edge of workers desks.
The support is placed right under the forearm, positioning computer users' arms in a way that releases tension in the shoulder muscles. They are of great use when employers spend substantial time in front of a computer. The results were much better when compared to using a trackball, a large ball installed next to the computer keyboard that takes the place of the mouse. But some workers complained of discomfort, others found it hard to use. All employees were also given ergonomics training so they could learn how to make their entire workstation more comfortable.
When the participants were followed for a year Rempel's team found workers who used a forearm support were half as likely as those who received only ergonomics training to be diagnosed with a neck or shoulder injury. But the cost factor is on the higher side. But when one calculates the money spent for these occupational injuries for over a period of 10 months then it would be a worth while investment.